Business requires a double amount of patience that other job might need; Zikra possess even more of that characteristic. She, with full confidence, started her business from zero and strives to compete with her fellow businessmen.
When Zikra Noel Yusuf, 29, opened a clothing shop, her weekly revenue was 10 thousand Iraqi dinars (8 dollars), but she did not give up and now waits for loan to expand her business to employee tens of other women.
“Women should realize that competing with men or doing those jobs attributed to them are not impossible or hard. It only requires hard work and strive” Zikra said.
Zikra is a Christian woman, who is from Alqosh sub-district in Nineveh plains. If you had asked her about her job five years ago, she would have responded that she was a household woman, but her response is now different; “I am competing with men in business and private sector.”
I am competing with men in business and private sector
It was in 2015 when Zikra turned her idea into action; she opened a women clothing shop in the place where she lives.
“Believe me, my weekly revenue was 10 thousand IQD, there were days when no women came to my shop, but I did not close it because I knew it required patience.”
It was after the war of the Islamic State (IS) when Zikra opened the shop. People were busy with thier return to their hometowns and reconstructions of their damaged houses.
She and her family lived in displacement in Duhok for a while due to the IS attacks, but later moved back to Alqosh.
Selling high quality clothes, convincing the customer to buy at least a cloth and adding a small profit to the goods
“I used three ways to successfully start my business and attract customers; selling high quality clothes, convincing the customer to buy at least a cloth and adding a small profit to the goods.”
After a short while, some of her customers had particular demands for the clothes of Zikra’s shop, which led to a greater involvement of Zikra in business.
“I do not have a good degree but I found out that attempting to work and earing a great amount of money is not related to having a degree. There are university graduates who do not have a job because they do not attempt”
Zikra has only finished primary school and quit studying due to particular circumstances.
She has married since 2006 and have three children, her husband is a teacher, who helps her during his holidays.
“My husband helps me during his summer holidays, but when he has to teach, my duties are difficult; taking care of the children and running the shop.”
When he has to teach, my duties are difficult; taking care of the children and running the shop
Zikra wanted to expand her business and was no longer satisfied with only a clothing shop, even though her weekly revenue increased from 10 thousand to 100 thousand (83 dollars).
She sought for a loan to expand her business until she participated in a workshop arranged by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that provided what she wanted.
“I want to expand my business, but I need money to do it. Not only me but majority of the shop owners in Alqosh need financial assistance. That is why we have kept eyes on the loan of the USAID.”
Not only me but majority of the shop owners in Alqosh need financial assistance
Zikra’s business is struggling and she is yet to receive the loan due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
“It is right that ther the demand is low but I will not give up on what I am striving for.”
Tens of other women in Alqosh have benefited from Zikra’s experience, “due to my encouragement and my story, many other women have opened shops and have their own business now.”
40 per cent of the women clothing and cosmetic shops in Alqosh is run by women, according to a data of the workers’ syndicate in the sub-district.
Zikra concluded that she has two goals in her life; earing a good amount of money and paving the way to the other household women to start working, so that they will all tighter become a strong force and win the competition.
Ammar Aziz- Nineveh